Patna: Senior Janata Dal (United) leader and former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra has praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving a ‘national identity' to Lok Sabha and assemblies elections through his personality and saw his functioning akin to that of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
"Narendra Modi has given national identity to Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections on the basis of his popularity. Till last general election, votes used to be cast on regional issues more than national subjects," Mishra, a former union minister, said in a statement on Friday.
Modi's style of functioning reflects that he is following the footsteps of Jawaharlal Nehru, he said.
The statement of Mishra, whose son Nitish Mishra is a minister in the Jitan Ram Manjhi government, is expected to create a stir within the ruling party.
Mishra who started with Congress, then joined NCP and ultimately to JD(U) did not contest the recent poll due to conviction in a fodder scam case.
He had unsuccessfully contested the 2009 poll on JD(U) ticket from Jhanjharpur.
In the era of coalition politics after 1996, the Congress or the BJP used to win 160-170 seats but Modi helped the BJP win 282 seats in the 2014 election, Mishra said, adding this has changed regional politics giving newer heights to national politics, he said.
Attributing Modi's success to his thought of ‘inclusive growth', Mishra said Modi succeeded in showcasing his nationalist outlook in state elections as found in the BJP's victory in Haryana and Maharashtra, he said.
"A closer watch on politics in post Independence era reflects that Narendra Modi is trying to establish an image of consensus leader like Pandit Nehru," said Mishra, who was Bihar chief minister for three terms.
Many things of Modi's functioning resembled Pandit Nehru's style, the octogenarian leader said.
Citing an example, Mishra said Nehru had addressed children on his birthday on November 14, 1956, and ‘Modi did a Nehru on the occasion of Teachers Day on September 5'.
Like Pandit Nehru, Modi also liked to win election with the help of his nationalist image, he said.
Furthermore, he said, Modi implemented his ‘Jan Dhan' programme on the lines of economic planning of Late Indira Gandhi after nationalisation of banks in 1969, he said.
"The Prime Minister has taken a commendable step by connecting 10 crore people with banking services," he said.